When I think of the word “minimal”, the first idea that comes to mind is Scandinavian simplicity. Blue and white. IKEA, Nokia and pretty much everything that Scandinavia stands for. Perhaps, this is why blue and white is my favorite combination of colors (the colors of the Finnish flag). The combination represents purity. Blue is a primary color, one that cannot be broken down further. White symbolizes purity, and is also a color traditionally worn by angels if you believe in them.
My fascination with minimalism does not end with objects and colors though. I like to think that minimalism also represents a way of life. When I think of all the troubles in the world today from your run-of-the mill relationship drama to unrest around the world, it’s most likely that people ask for too much; it is the greed for power, money, prestige and everything in between. We want too much of this; we want too much of that. No single overarching theory can explain why humans are always struggling. But I think reducing the desire to accumulate can bring a new perspective and may even bring more meaning into our lives.
What does a life defined by minimalism look like? First, I would like to clarify that a minimalism-infused life is not synonymous with living a life in a shack and being stingy with yourself and your community. It is a life without the constant craving for more material possessions, prestige and fame however undeserved. Minimalism is about living your life as simply as you can. For me, it’s as simple as waking up in the morning to a cup of black coffee and reading a good book (fiction or non-fiction) on a commute. I am happy to be alive every morning. Forget that $6 frothy, venti Starbucks drink, I am happy just making my instant coffee every morning. Ironically, a minimal life is also about maximizing the value of resources. Out of all my resources, time is the most precious. Whenever I have time on my hands, I try to read or work on a project I am passionate about. I want to go to bed every night knowing that I have finished the day with newfound knowledge and/or skills. I want to know that my time was well spent.
I don’t know when my fascination with everything Scandinavian began. Maybe just to think about minimalism can make life so simple. Next time, you enter an IKEA store, will you also think about incorporating minimalism into your life?
Note to my readers: I would love to hear your thoughts on minimalism and your ideas on how to incorporate minimalism into your everyday life.